AMD’s GPU hardware and software subsystems play a major role in delivering great VR experiences. AMD engineers have been collaborating closely with Oculus and Microsoft® to understand the challenges involved, and implement innovative techniques that help resolve them. Back in March 2015, we announced LiquidVR™, an AMD technology initiative aimed at enabling a fully immersive and comfortable virtual reality experience.
VR headsets are a new class of display devices and currently lack native support in existing operating systems, which attempt to manage head mounted displays (HMDs) in the same manner as a standard monitor. The OS might attempt to extend the desktop to a VR display, or apply power management strategies that are not necessarily compatible with the VR environment. As a result, displaying a monoscopic 2D desktop on a 3D stereoscopic display can be incredibly jarring and uncomfortable.
LiquidVR helps developers to make the transition from PC-style display technologies to the immersive HMDs that are common in VR. LiquidVR is designed to natively drive VR displays, a major benefit that enables improved plug-and-play experience on host OSes that were not designed for VR (e.g., Windows® 7 and Windows® 8). This eliminates the need for special shim drivers to redirect output that would create an additional layer of complexity.
Today, AMD is releasing AMD Catalyst™ Software Suite for Oculus 0.7 SDK Support as a first significant step toward meeting these goals. This AMD Catalyst driver contains several key features, including Direct-to-Display. Direct-to-Display bypasses these limitations, creating a seamless plug-and-play user experience. Without this feature, a head-mounted display could automatically be treated as a part of desktop, causing undesired side effects such as changing desktop configurations and reshuffling of desktop icons.
The era of Surround Computing is at our doorstep. Initiatives like AMD LiquidVR™ are ushering in a new realm of smart VR technologies designed to empower developers and fuel better VR experiences. The best is yet to come – and it is just around the corner. The AMD team is pleased to help make this possible.
To find out more about Direct-to-Display from AMD, have a look at the following video:
Mitch Singer is Director of Software Development for AMD. His postings are his own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies or opinions. Links to third party sites are provided for convenience and unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such linked sites and no endorsement is implied.